Europe Hangs On to Win Royal Trophy

By Sports NetworkJanuary 8, 2006, 5:00 pm
European TourBANGKOK, Thailand -- Led by two-time Ryder Cupper Paul McGinley, the European team won just three points in Sunday's singles matches, but it was enough to win the first-ever Royal Trophy, 9-7, at Amata Spring Country Club.
 
The European squad led 6-2 entering the final day with eight singles matches slated to determine the events first winner. Asia took the first singles match as Yasuharo Imano beat Englishman David Howell, 2-up.
 
Seve Ballesteros
Seve Ballesteros holds aloft the Royal Trophy after Europe defeated Asia.
McGinley held off Asian Tour standout Lian-Wei Zhang, 2 and 1. Graeme McDowell then extended the Europeans lead to 8-3 with a 3 and 2 win over Jyoti Randhawa.
 
The Asian team won the next two matches as Arjun Atwal downed 11-time Ryder Cupper Nick Faldo, 3 and 2. Eight-time European Ryder Cup member Ian Woosnam dropped his match with Thaworn Wiratchant, 2 and 1.
 
Needing to win on of the last three matches, Sweden's Henrik Stenson rolled over two-time European Tour winner Thongchai Jaidee, 5 & 4, to clinch the Royal Trophy for the Europeans.
 
S.K. Ho took down Kenneth Ferrie, 2 and 1, while Keiichiro Fukabori pounded Thomas Bjorn, 4 and 3, to create the final margin.
 
'I am really very happy with the final score today,' said European team captain Seve Ballesteros. 'It has been a great two days of competition and the European Team played fantastic. The Asian team also showed a tremendous game. On this occasion we had a little more luck, but at the end of the day golf is the real champion.'
 
Howell led the first match four of the first six holes, before Imano claimed the seventh and eighth to grab his first lead at 1-up. Howell came right back to win the next two holes to reclaim the lead, that would be his least.
 
Imano won the 11th and 14th, but Howell won 12 and 16 to keep the match all square. Imano closed the match in style with wins on the final two holes.
 
McGinley never led over the opening 13 holes of his match with Zhang. Zhang was 2-up through seven, but the Irishman eventually squared the match on 13. McGinley also won the 14th to grab his first lead and ended the match with a win on the 17th.
 
'I am obviously pleased I won my game, but the most important thing was the team won,' said McGinley. 'It was a tough game today and Zhang played great, but fortunately I played well enough to beat him.'
 
McDowell dominated Randhawa throughout. McDowell won each of the first two holes and eventually moved his lead to 3-up through 6. Randhawa wouldn't go down without a fight as he won the 11th to even the match. McDowell then won 13, 14 and 16 to claim the match.
 
Faldo won the first hole against Atwal, but that would be his only lead. Atwal won the second and third to go 1-up. He stretched his lead to 2-up twice, but Faldo cut it both times. Atwal won the 11th and 12th to take a 3-up lead before winning the match on the 16th.
 
Wiratchant led from the second to the ninth, but Woosnam claimed Nos. 10 and 11 to take his only lead of their match. Wiratchant won the next two holes to reclaim a 1-up lead and he closed the match with a win on the 17th.
 
Stenson, playing local favorite Jaidee in the last match, cruised to a big win. After leading much of the opening 10 holes, Stenson won the 11th, 12th and 13th holes to move 5-up. The match was over one hole later as they halved the 14th.
 
Fukabori and Bjorn were the penultimate match and Fukabori never trailed. Bjorn won the eighth to square the match, but it was all Fukabori from there. He won the ninth, 10th and 11th to move 3-up. Fukabori won the 14th and the match was over one hole later.
 
Ho and Ferrie had a good battle. Ho grabbed a 2-up lead when he won the No. 5. Ferrie won three straight from the sixth to turn the deficit into a 1-up lead. Ho took 11 to even the match, then moved back in front with wins on 15 and 16. They halved 17 to give Ho the match.
 
'We won the singles today, but the European team took the trophy,' said Asian captain Masahiro Kuramoto. 'Europe is a great team and so was the Asian team. I was happy to see the boys fight back after yesterday. For a moment, it looked possible that we could upset Europe and our players grew in confidence. We proved today that we could compete.'
 
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."